Wednesday, December 22, 2021

If I Cannot Bring You Comfort

 It is the Christmas season, for those who observe, which signals the end of the year as measured by the Gregorian calendar, and as such it is time for us to take stock of our time which is ending, and our time which is about to begin. We can start with the Legion of Super-Heroes (remember the Legion? It's a blog about the Legion) and then move on to other matters.

We already knew that 2022 would see the Legion appear in... a miniseries? an arc?... called Justice League vs the Legion of Super-Heroes, which will, apparently, be about both Gold Lantern and the Great Darkness. I'm not super nuts about the only Legion series being a limited run like this, but it's more than we've got now, and, at least, it's part of Brian Michael Bendis's vision for the team.

Speaking of Bendis, in his newsletter (click here for the whole thing) he announced that he's working on developing an animated Legion of Super-Heroes series for HBO Max. The series will be aimed at grownups and will feature his fourboot Legion. Some points:

- this is, of course, very positive news

- the odds that this TV show actually gets made are not great. Not because of any failing of Bendis's or the Legion's or HBO Max's. Just basically because most TV shows don't make it to air

- the previous LSH TV show, the two-season cartoon on Fox Kids, was a respectable success, and its influence on its young viewers will someday be of tangible benefit to the Legion of Super-Heroes franchise; this TV show, if it makes it, could do similarly

- the process of taking comic-book stories and turning them into TV is likely to accentuate Bendis's strengths as a Legion writer and mitigate his weaknesses

- I've long been of the opinion that any successful translation of the Legion to TV must be animated, not live-action, so I think they've made the right decision here

My big takeaway from both of these impending Legion stories is that the LSH does have a future, and I'm aware that that sounds like a joke but in this case it isn't, and that I hope we can all be around to see it.

And while we're all on that... I hope you can all be vaccinated up to your maximum available amount of protection, and can keep yourselves safe from the coronavirus in all the other ways. Ironically--which is the word we use when we don't want to say "ridiculously"--the coronavirus is the least, and most tractable, of the major problems facing the world in general and us in particular. It's no coincidence that all of these problems--I'll list "climate change" and "fascism" as the big two, but there are more--are exacerbated by being denied, promoted, defended, and/or sponsored by a loose but cooperative network of groups and entities whose interest is not in the future but in making the present as bad as possible.

I hope, in 2022, that we (I am definitely including myself in this hope) can do all we can to be part of the solutions and not part of the problems, and that we're wise enough to choose the right ways to do that.

I haven't been writing much on Legion Abstract recently. This is partly because there haven't been any Legion comics to write about. Maybe I'll chip in another article or two here or there. Certainly I'll review JLAvLSH when it comes out. I don't believe in permanent goodbyes on the internet, and this isn't even a temporary one, but if you need to see it in print: I'll never close down this blog as long as I'm alive (although it may sometimes be less active than other times). I have, however, started writing a couple of other projects, and I'll tell you more about them if and when they become something.

And I'll end this post with this, which strikes me as also to be appropriate for an end-of-the-year summary.

Over the last couple of years, I've started coming out to my friends and family and other people as agender. This isn't exactly a new thing. No need to share the specific details, but all my life I've had a very distant relationship with masculinity, and recently I've come to understand that it's because masculinity wasn't actually a thing that was for me at all.

Why am I telling you this? You don't really need to know it, and I don't really need you to know it. It doesn't make a difference to my Legion opinions that I'm neither dude nor chick. But I do have a couple of reasons.

First, I've always understood that the value of coming out is in its effect on other people: first, people who haven't come out themselves can see more people they can identify with and become comfortable with the idea that people like them belong in the world, which they do. Second, people hostile to LGBTQ+ people will increasingly get the (accurate) sense that they are outnumbered, and will be more likely to change their opinions or at least shut up about them if they don't change them. Both of which are worthwhile goals.

Plus... I'm white, and male-passing, and in a sense I've not been subject to transphobia my whole life. See, "agender" is a subcategory of "trans" in this sense: I was assigned the gender of "male" at birth, and have now said that that is not my gender. That's trans. It's true that the word "trans" has connotations that don't really resonate with my experience, but that's neither here nor there. So I don't reject the label.

But while I can look back on the considerable amount of bullying that I experienced much earlier in my life and say that, in retrospect, it was partly based on being a precocious agender kid, I didn't know that at the time. They called me "gay" (and other related terms), sure, but as far as I knew, they were just wrong about that. (Also, being gay and being agender are not at all the same thing, but that's a nuance that would have been lost on these kids.) So in my mind, I wasn't being picked on because of something that I was that wasn't hurting them, and therefore I didn't beat myself up for being it, and so was spared one specific kind of damage. In retrospect, they were clearly picking up on something about me, but since I had no idea, there's a level on which it doesn't count.

But there are any number of trans people out there for whom that's not true. They've had to deal with a lot of static while knowing what it was the whole time. So what I'm intending here is to stand with them.

(FAQ: Are you changing your pronouns? Nah; I've had about fifty years of getting used to he/him. But if you want to refer to me as she/her or they/them, that's okay too. I'd a lot rather be called "she" than "Matt".)

There's still a lot I don't know about this topic. There's still a lot I don't understand about myself. I'm no expert. (And a lot of the answers one finds boil down to, "it's different for everybody! You get to decide for yourself!" Great. Thanks. I'm sure that's right. But it's no help.) Having said that, if anyone is coping with something similar and thinks it would help to kick it around with me, please let me know; I'm happy to do what I can.

So my last thought here is, let's all be ourselves in 2022. And let's all get to work. Tired as we all are, there's a lot that needs to be done. The truth is somewhere here.

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